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7 Mongol Law versus Islamic Law. Myth and Reality

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents the reasons for the conflict between the yāsā and the Sharīʿa, whether that conflict was in fact real or mythical. Möngke had charged his brother Hülegü with continuing the Mongol conquests and implementing the customs (rusūm wa yūsūn) and law (yāsā) of Genghis Khan. In the Timurid yārghū, specialized staff was responsible for ensuring that administrative justice conformed to Mongol law. The central role of ritual ablutions in Islam led the Muslims to consider that the Mongols had no concept of purity. The Mongol concept of purity cannot be compared to the Islamic concept, as it did not serve a ritual purpose. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, for the Muslims and for the Mongols themselves, the yāsā expressed the imperial identity of Genghis Khan's line, given concrete shape by the imposition of a new political order across much of the Muslim world.

Keywords: Genghis Khan; Mongol Law; Muslims; purity; ritual ablutions; Sharīʿa; Timurid yārghū; yāsā



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